Monday, 23 July 2012

Classic French Onion Soup with Homemade Croutons (Easy Recipe)

French onion soup is topped with homemade croutons and garnished with chopped parsley

The idea of cooking a classic recipe is off-putting to many home cooks. For some reason, they expect it to be overly complicated and way beyond their modest culinary capabilities. Actually, in a great many instances, the opposite is true. Classic recipes from all over the world very often represent dishes which have been cooked for centuries, using ancient cooking techniques, from super fresh ingredients which have been locally sourced. French onion soup is one such recipe and this version is surely within the capabilities of just about anyone reading this article. This is quite a substantial soup and although it could be served as a starter or appetizer, it is equally perfect as a light dinner, served with fresh crusty bread.

Large white onions for French onion soup

Ingredients (Serves Two)

1lb white onions, peeled and sliced
2oz butter
1 tsp dried sage
2 to 3 tbsp French white wine
1 pint fresh beef stock
1 thick slice farmhouse bread
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
Freshly chopped flat leaf parsley to garnish

Chopped onions and sage are added to melted butter

Put the butter in a large pot and gently melt. Add the sliced onions and the sage. Stir well and cook on the lowest possible heat for fifteen minutes, stirring every few minutes. You just want to let the onions sweat down. You will see them slowly become transluscent.
Onions have gently been sweated off in the butter

After fifteen minutes, the onions should have reduced considerably. Increase the heat slightly and cook for a further fifteen minutes to caramelise the onions. You will need to watch them carefully at this stage, stirring frequently. Note also that the fresher your onions, the more beautiful brown colour you will achieve. This is simply due to the presence of a higher level of natural sugars.

Heat has been increased to caramelise onions

Add the white wine to the browned onions and simmer for two to three minutes to burn off the alcohol. Add the stock, bring back to a simmer, stir well and cook for ten more minutes.

White wine and stock has been added to the browned onions

Cut the crusts off your slice of farmhouse bread and chop to one inch cubes. Bring the olive oil up to a high heat in a small frying pan. If you add the bread to cold oil, it will soak up the oil rather than immediately start to crisp and your croutons will be soggy.

Crust is cut off bread to make croutons

Add the croutons to the hot oil and season lightly with salt. Turn regularly for a few minutes to brown and crisp.

Bread cubes are added to very hot olive oil

Remove the croutons from the pan with a slotted spoon to a plate covered with kitchen paper. Allow them a couple of minutes to drain.

Croutons are drained on kitchen paper

Use a ladle to divide the French onion soup between two serving plates.

French onion soup is plated

Lay the croutons on top of the soup and garnish with the chopped parsley.


Croutons are laid on French onion soup

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